Hardeman Nichols is a native of Alabama. He grew up in Jasper, where his beloved father, Gus, preached for many years. Anyone who grew up as a member of the church of Christ in the southeast will recognize the Nichols' family as one of our most prominent preaching families. We will talk more about this family in future posts when we write about brother Gus Nichols. Brother Hardeman graduated from Walker High School where he was President of the Senior Class and Vice President of the Student Body. He played football with George Lyndsey of "Mayberry" fame. They were both Quarterbacks for the Walker High football team. Brother Nichols received his college education at Freed-Hardeman University and West Virginia University.
He is married to Virginia Montgomery of Moundsville, West Virginia, and they have two daughters and two grandsons. Brother Nichols has participated in the establishment of several educational institutions, including Lubbock Christian University and Midland Christian School. He has served on the board of trustees of Oklahoma Christian University. Among his other activities, he is a partner in Nichols Brothers Publishing Company and his articles appear in many religious papers and magazines. He has written chapters of more than a dozen published volumes.
Brother Hardeman is a frequent speaker on college lectureships and special congregational programs, and he has conducted evangelistic meetings in forty-five states and several foreign countries including several extended series in the nation of India and Romania. He has engaged in local ministries at Cordova, Alabama and Columbus, Mississippi, as well as in Texas at Sunset in Lubbock, North A and Tennessee Street in Midland, Walnut Hill in Dallas, Southside in Fort Worth and Austin Street in Garland. Presently he is an elder and preaches for the Pleasant Grove church of Christ in Dallas. He also spent about ten years in full-time meeting work, averaging forty meetings per year during that time. He is an instructor at the Brown Trail School of Preaching in Fort Worth.
It has been a rich blessing over the past few years for Laura & me to become very close to brother and sister Nichols. They are encouragers. There many years of a wonderful marriage serves as an outstanding model for all of us. We have been blessed to spend time with them on numerous occasions and we always feel stronger for having been around them. They both have a wonderful attitude about life and a great sense of humor. Often times brother Nichols will introduce me to someone and then he will say, "Jeff is going to preach our funeral, but I often remind him not to get in a hurry!" We love the Nichols' and thank God for them regularly.
Brother Harold Taylor, a long time friend of brother Nichols recently said of him, "Hardeman is a Preachers, Preacher. It could be said of him what Augustine said, he is 'a good man - speaking well.' He can make the difficult Scripture simple, which is a sign of great scholarship. He has an appealing presence in the pulpit." I agree whole-heartedly with the sentiments expressed by brother Harold.
In a recent visit with brother Nichols I asked him if he would give some advice to preachers concerning preparation and presentation of sermons. Here are some of his thoughts about sermon preparation. "We need to emphasize the fact that we are the products of what we think, so we should keep our hearts focused on that fact." He also said that preachers should be reminded that we "need to get our material from the Bible, rather than from some concordance. That we should study the context of Scripture, that the historical context is important."
When discussing sermon presentation brother Nichols said, "Don't preach at people, preach to them. Don't preach to particular individuals in the church. Not everyone will appreciate all that you preach, but remember that we preach to please the Lord. Preaching is an awesome responsibility and we will be judged by themessage that we deliver. Therefore, we should do the very best that we can."
These sermon notes from "The Abundant Life of Faith" are from a sermon that brother Nichols delivered for a lectureship several years ago. These notes show the complete nature of his study and preparation. They also show his great love and respect for the Word of God. His study, his sermons, and his life can be held up as an outstanding model for anyone who loves to preach the Word of God.
Dear Father, we pray that You will continue to bless the lives of Hardeman and Virginia Nichols. We are thankful to You for the outstanding marriage they have shown us as well as the wonderful work they have done in the church for many years. We pray that You will raise up more families like them to work in the church and that You will raise up more preachers like Him.